Since February 24, 2022, in Ukraine, 63 journalists have died either as participants in hostilities or as a result of russian shelling or torture. 14 of them died while directly performing their journalistic duties, and another 9 journalists are victims among the civilian population.
Taras Shevchenko, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy for European Integration, delivered this information during the meeting of the OSCE Human Dimension Committee on the topic “Media Freedom”.
According to his words, another 40 media workers died while serving in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or law enforcement units, defending the independence of Ukraine with weapons in their hands.
“With the onset of russia’s full-scale aggression, we have, unfortunately, witnessed massive human rights violations, especially the infringement of freedom of speech and the rights of journalists. Representatives of the media and the Ukrainian information infrastructure have come under the crosshairs of russian armed forces – they shell Ukrainian TV towers, launch cyberattacks on Ukrainian websites, kidnap, torture and kill journalists,” said Taras Shevchenko.
He emphasized that the safety and protection of journalists have always been the foundation of media freedom. The journalists currently working in Ukraine are not only authors of unique news, important investigations, or reports.
“They are people who are deeply versed in the relevant field and work in extreme, dangerous conditions. Together with our defenders of Ukraine, they ride in armored vehicles in full gear, face ambushes and shelling on the front lines, risking their lives and health. All in order to capture unique shots and photos that will not only tell Ukraine and the world the whole truth about the war but also become irrefutable proof of the intrigue of the occupiers and the feat of Ukrainian heroes,” added Taras Shevchenko.
He also touched upon the situation regarding journalists’ rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea. According to him, 15 professional journalists remain behind bars on the territory of the peninsula for politically motivated criminal cases. Three of them – Vilen Temeryanov, Ernes Ametov and Iryna Danylovych – were imprisoned as early as the beginning of 2022.
In April 2022, citizen journalist Iryna Danylovych was abducted by russian security forces and imprisoned in the Simferopol detention center. Iryna Danylovych was accused of «illegal possession of explosives». In December 2022, the city court in Feodosia sentenced Iryna Danylovych to seven years in prison and a fine of 50,000 rubles (650 euros). Also, the situation of non-provision of medical aid to Ukrainian political prisoners, in particular journalists, remains serious. In February of this year, two Crimean political prisoners died in prisons due to lack of medical care.